Unemployment Payments, Now On Debit Cards

Getting unemployment compensation payments are now easier for D.C. residents without bank accounts; this week, the District’s Department of Employment Services began issuing unemployment benefits through debit cards. Only 2,000 people have volunteered for the pilot program, but starting in January, the agency will stop sending checks to anyone receiving unemployment compensation. Cashing unemployment checks can be costly or inconvenient for the more than 12 percent of D.C. households without bank accounts.

The new electronic upgraded system is the department’s way to “go green.” The new system will also catch fraud, save money and become more efficient.

The debit card system will work similar to the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) for youth. “The recipient doesn’t need to have a bank account. The card can be used at any of the thousands of ATMs in the area,” Thompson said.

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